NOW A MINISERIES ON BBC AMERICA STARRING DAVID TENNANT
An autumn evening in 1937. A German engineer arrives at the Warsaw railway station. Tonight, he will be with his Polish mistress; tomorrow, at a workers’ bar in the city’s factory district, he will meet with the military attaché from the French embassy. Information will be exchanged for money. So begins The Spies of Warsaw, the brilliant new novel by Alan Furst, lauded by The New York Times as “America’s preeminent spy novelist.”
War is coming to Europe. French and German intelligence operatives are locked in a life-and-death struggle on the espionage battlefield. At the French embassy, the new military attaché, Colonel Jean-Francois Mercier, a decorated hero of the 1914 war, is drawn into a world of abduction, betrayal, and intrigue in the diplomatic salons and back alleys of Warsaw. At the same time, the handsome aristocrat finds himself in a passionate love affair with a Parisian woman of Polish heritage, a lawyer for the League of Nations.
Colonel Mercier must work in the shadows, amid an extraordinary cast of venal and dangerous characters–Colonel Anton Vyborg of Polish military intelligence; the mysterious and sophisticated Dr. Lapp, senior German Abwehr officer in Warsaw; Malka and Viktor Rozen, at work for the Russian secret service; and Mercier’s brutal and vindictive opponent, Major August Voss of SS counterintelligence. And there are many more, some known to Mercier as spies, some never to be revealed.
The Houston Chronicle has described Furst as “the greatest living writer of espionage fiction.” The Spies of Warsaw is his finest novel to date–the history precise, the writing evocative and powerful, more a novel about spies than a spy novel, exciting, atmospheric, erotic, and impossible to put down.
“As close to heaven as popular fiction can get.”
–Los Angeles Times, about The Foreign Correspondent
“What gleams on the surface in Furst’s books is his vivid, precise evocation of mood, time, place, a letter-perfect re-creation of the quotidian details of World War II Europe that wraps around us like the rich fug of a wartime railway station.”
“A rich, deeply moving novel of suspense that is equal parts espionage thriller, European history and love story.”
–Herbert Mitgang, The New York Times, about Dark Star
“Some books you read. Others you live. They seep into your dreams and haunt your waking hours until eventually they seem the stuff of memory and experience. Such are the novels of Alan Furst, who uses the shadowy world of espionage to illuminate history and politics with immediacy.”
–Nancy Pate, Orlando Sentinel
Furst (The Foreign Correspondent) solidifies his status as a master of historical spy fiction with this compelling thriller set in 1937 Poland. Col. Jean-Fran ois Mercier, a military attach at the French embassy in Warsaw who runs a network of spies, plays a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with his German adversaries. When one of Mercier's main agents, Edvard Uhl, an engineer at a large D sseldorf arms manufacturer who's been a valuable source on the Nazis' new weapons, becomes concerned that the Gestapo is on to him, Mercier initially dismisses Uhl's fears. Mercier soon realizes that the risk to his spy is genuine, and he's forced to scramble to save Uhl's life. The colonel himself later takes to the field when he hears reports that the German army is conducting maneuvers in forested terrain. Even readers familiar with the Germans' attack through the Ardennes in 1940 will find the plot suspenseful. As ever, Furst excels at creating plausible characters and in conveying the mostly tedious routines of real espionage. Author tour.
The Spies of Warsaw
Alan Furst has established himself as one of the finest if not the finest spy thriller writer of all time. There are many truly great writers of this genre including Graham Greene, Somerset Maugham John LeCarre, Len Deighton and Eric Ambler. Like Ambler, Furst has set most of his books in the period just before World War II. He has an incredible ability to convey the mood, the flavor, the culture, the tensions and life styles of old Europe. Ordinary people suddenly find themselves in difficult and very unordinary situations. Mr. Furst’s extensive knowledge of the pre-war period smoulders in his books on almost every page. At times you almost wonder whether you are reading recently penned fiction or a true historical account as though he had found an old diary in an attic and published it. Above all, Mr. Furst has the ability to exercise the full power of the English language well beyond the reach of dozens of writers far better known that he is. Curiously, the Spies of Warsaw is not my favorite of his books. “The Foreign Correspondent,” “The Polish Officer” and “Dark Star” I enjoyed more. But if I had read “The Spies of Warsaw” before reading the others, I would have said it was among the very best books I have ever read.